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Mol Microbiol. 1990 Apr;4(4):519-26.

Structure and dynamics of the colicin E1 channel.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


The toxin-like and bactericidal colicin E1 molecule is of interest for problems of toxin action, polypeptide translocation across membranes, voltage-gated channels, and receptor function. Colicin E1 binds to a receptor in the outer membrane and is translocated across the cell envelope to the inner membrane. Import of the colicin channel-forming domain into the inner membrane involves a translocation-competent intermediate state and a membrane potential-dependent movement of one third to one half of the channel peptide into the membrane bilayer. The voltage-gated channel has a conductance sufficiently large to depolarize the Escherichia coli cytoplasmic membrane. Amino acid residues that affect the channel ion selectivity have been identified by site-directed mutagenesis. The colicin E1 channel is one of a few membrane proteins whose secondary structures in the membrane, predominantly alpha-helix, have been determined by physico-chemical techniques. Hypothesis for the identity of the trans-membrane helices, and the mechanism of binding to the membrane, are influenced by the solved crystal structure of the soluble colicin A channel peptide. The protective action of immunity protein is a unique aspect of the colicin problem, and information has been obtained, by genetic techniques, about the probable membrane topography of the imm gene product.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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